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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 10:29 pm | Partly Cloudy 52º


For Renters, Fire Insurance Can Provide Peace of Mind

When disaster strikes, a good policy ensures valuable possessions inside a home are covered.

For many residents evacuated from their homes, homeowners insurance isn’t on their minds — but renters insurance is.

There are two types of insurance designated by the Insurance Services Office to cover nonhomeowners: HO-4 for renters and HO-6 for condominium owners.

Most homeowners have HO-3 coverage, which includes the structure, its contents and liability. Renters policies typically cover what the landholder’s policy does not — the renters’ possessions. They cover losses from damage done by fires, theft, smoke and riots.

Goleta resident Nichole Dechaine voluntarily evacuated from her apartment last week because of uncomfortably smoky conditions. “I was kicking myself because I do not have renters insurance,” she said. “I have a quote from (Allstate) and I was thinking I should probably dig that out sometime soon.”

State Farm insurance account representative Emilio Jerez said State Farm can’t issue new policies at this point to renters whose residences are in “imminent danger … including (dwellings) closest to the fire in Goleta past (Highway) 154.”

Jerez urges renters to get insurance not only for asset protection but also because it covers additional living expenses, such as hotel accommodations and moving fees, if a residence becomes unlivable.

Although representatives no longer are stationed at San Marcos High School, agent Ed Attlesey says that if a person calls a local State Farm agent after hours, they automatically will be referred to another office and a live agent.

“They could call at midnight on Sunday and find out what coverage they have or find a hotel,” Attlesey said.

Jim Klapthor from Allstate advises renters to review their policy coverage as soon as possible, and said prices with Allstate aren’t going up in the area but that more requests are coming in. He said Allstate is still issuing policies to renters and hasn’t put any restrictions on ZIP codes.

To help homeowners and renters with fire insurance availability in specific areas, the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors has started a community blog identifying which companies are issuing policies at this time.

Noozhawk intern Mollie Helmuth can be reached at [email protected]

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